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The Acidic Environment

Contextual Outline
Acidic and basic environments exist everywhere. The human body has a slightly
acidic skin surface to assist in disease control and digestion occurs in both acidic
and basic environments to assist the breakdown of the biopolymers constituting
food. Indeed, microorganisms found in the digestive system are well adapted to
acidic or basic environments.
Many industries use acidic and basic compounds for a wide range of purposes
and these compounds are found in daily use within the home. Because of this, an
awareness of the properties of acids and bases is important for safe handling of
materials. Currently, concerns exist about the increased release of acidic and
basic substances into the environment and the impact of these substances on
the environment and the organisms within those environments.
This module increases students understanding of the history, nature and
practice of chemistry, the applications and uses of chemistry and implications of
chemistry for society and the environment.

The Acidic Environment

1. Indicators were identified with the observation that the colour of
some flowers depends on soil composition
Students learn to:
classify common substances as acidic, basic or neutral
- Change colour of indicator, litmus to red
- Are electrolytes
- Sour taste
- React with reactive metals (H2 + salt)
- React with carbonates and hydrogencarbonates (CO 2, H2O, Salt)
- React with metal oxides (H2O, salt)
- React with metal hydroxides (H2O, salt)

Change colour of indicators, litmus to blue

Are electrolytes
React with acids (H2O, Salt)
React with amphoteric metals (H2)
Dissolve amphoteric metal hydroxides

HCl, used to clean bricks

H 2O

H2SO4, fertilisers, car

HNO3, pesticides


NaOH, soap, polymers,
drain cleaners
NH3, fertilisers, household
Ca(OH)2, plaster and
Mg(OH)2, antacid

CH3COOH, vinegar
Citric Acid, fruits
Lactic Acid, milk and
muscle tissue

identify that indicators such a litmus, phenolphthalein, methyl orange and

bromothymol blue can be used to determine the acidic or basic nature of a
material over a range and that the range is identified by change in indicator
Indicates such as litmus, phenolphthalein, methyl orange and bromothymol blue
can be used to determine the acidic or basic nature of a material. All indicators
have their own range that is suitable to test. The range is identified by change in
indicator colour. No single indicator can cover the entire 0-14 range.
Universal indicator is a mixture of indicators.

The Acidic Environment

identify and describe some everyday uses of indicators including the testing
of soil acidity/basicity
Indicators are used to test the pH of soil, affecting growth of plants and can
change the colour of some flowers. It is also used for fish tanks and swimming
pools, where the pH of the water is important.
perform a first-hand investigation to prepare and test a natural indicator
identify data and choose resources to further information about the colour
changes of a range of indicators
solve problems by applying information about the colour changes of
indicators to classify some household substances as acidic, neutral or basic

The Acidic Environment

2. While we usually think of the air around us as neutral, the
atmosphere naturally contains acidic oxides of carbon, nitrogen and
sulfur. The concentrations of these acidic oxides have been increasing
since the Industrial Revolution
Students learn to:
identify oxides of non-metals which act as acids and describe the conditions
under which they act as acids
Acidic oxides react with water to form an acid. Eg. CO 2 mildly acidic, SO2 and NO2,
Most non-metal oxides except for CO, NO and N 2O which are neutral.

analyse the position of these non-metals in the Periodic Table and outline the
relationship between position of elements in the Periodic Table and
acidity/basicity of oxides
The metals in group I & II form basic oxides. The basicity of these oxides
increases down the group. Most non-metals other than the noble gasses form
acidic oxides. The acidity of the oxide decreases down the group as the elements
become more metallic in character.
define Le Chateliers principle
If a chemical system at equilibrium experiences a change in concentration,
temperature, volume, or partial pressure, then the equilibrium shifts to
counteract the imposed change and a new equilibrium is established.
Remember for equilibrium to be achieved, the system must be closed. This
means chemicals are not being added or removed.
At equilibrium, there is no change in macroscopic properties such as colour,
temperature, pressure of gases concentration of reactants and products. The
only movement is at the microscopic level and the movement of reactants to
products is equal to the movement of products to reactants.

identify factors which can affect the equilibrium in a reversible reaction

After time=0, the
chemical reaction
takes place, the conc
of reactants
decreases and the
conc of product
increases with time.
After 4 hours, the
reaction reached
equilibrium. At equilibrium, the rate of the forward reaction is the same as the
rate of the reverse reaction so the concentration of reactants and products stay
the same.
Adding a Catalyst
The catalyst speeds up both forward and reverse reactions, allowing the reaction
to reach equilibrium faster. The position of the equilibrium doesnt change. At

The Acidic Environment

equilibrium, the conc of reactants and products are the same as for uncatalysed
Changing the Temperature
Increasing the temperature of a reaction mixture speeds up both the forward and
reverse reactions.
(H2O(g) H2O(l) + energy)
In exothermic reaction, heat is product. Increasing the temperature of an
exothermic reaction favours the formation of reactants. The equilibrium conc of
reactants will be higher at higher temperature and the equilibrium conce of
products will be lower at higher temperature.
(energy + H2O(l) = H2O(g))
In endothermic reaction, heat is reactant. Increasing the temperature of an
endothermic reaction favours the formation of products. The equilibrium conc of
products will be higher at higher temperature and the equilibrium conc of
reactants will be lower at higher temperature.
Change in Concentration
(HCl + Mg -> MgCl2 + H2, 2H+ + Mg Mg2+ + H2)
When reactants are added, there would be an instantaneous increase in the
reactants followed by a readjustment as more products are formed according to
Le Chateliers Principle. A new equilibrium position is reached where the conc of
reactants and conc of products are more than initially.
When pressure or volume is changed in gases, it reaches a new equilibrium
position. When the pressure is increased, the reaction moves to the side with less
moles and vice versa. If the no. of moles is the same, then the equilibrium
position remains the same.
When the volume of the system is halved, the concentration increases and a new
position is reached where both of conc are greater. When the volume is doubled,
the conc decreases by half and new equilibrium is reached that is less than the
previous one.

describe the solubility of carbon dioxide in water under various conditions as

an equilibrium process and explain in terms of Le Chateliers principle
CO2 CO2(aq) + H2O(l) H2CO3(aq) H+(aq) + HCO3-(aq) [exothermic]
CO2 is acidic oxide, dissolves in water to produce H 2CO3.
Soft drinks (carbonated) are produced by dissolving CO 2 in water at 400
500kpa. The water is supersaturated. When can/bottle is sealed, system stays
that way at high CO2 gas pressure. At high pressure, equilibrium moves to the
right so more is dissolved, increasing acidity.

The Acidic Environment

When uncapped/opened, the equilibrium moves to the left and CO 2 comes out of
solution, the acidity decreases as less CO 2 is dissolved.
When adding another acid into the system, the H + ions of the new acid increases
the concentration of H+ ions in solution, pushing the equilibrium left. Therefore, if
acid added, then CO2 comes out of solution ie. Goes flat faster.
When the temperature is increased, as it is an exothermic reaction, the
equilibrium moves to the left according to Le Chateliers principle to reduce the
effect. Therefore, as temperature is increased, more gas comes out of solution.
Similarly, if the system is cool, then more CO2 is dissolved in solution.
identify natural and industrial sources of sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen
Sulfur Dioxide
Natural sources 2/3 of SO2 come from natural sources such as volcanoes and
hot geothermal springs. Bacteria may decompose organic matter to produce H 2S
which is oxidises to SO2.
Industrial burning of fossil fuels and extraction of metals from sulphide ores
Oxides of Nitrogen
3 main types:
Nitrous oxide NO2
Nitric oxide NO
Nitrogen dioxide NO2
Natural sources lightning N2 (air)> NO2. Combustion in high temperatures
Industrial sources power stations (combustion and high temperature), cars,

describe, using equations, examples of chemical reactions which release

sulfur dioxide and chemical reactions which release oxides of nitrogen
Sulfur Dioxide
Burning of coal for electricity. Coal contains sulfur mainly as metallic sulfides (eg.
FeS2). When burnt, the sulfur combines with oxygen in the air to form SO 2. Some
coals have a higher sulfur content than others. Australia has a lower sulfur coal.
S in compounds + O2 (g) -> SO2 (g)
4FeS2 (s) + 11O2 (g) -> 2Fe2O3 (s) + 8SO2 (g)
Crude oil and natural gas also contain sulfur compounds most of which are
extracted at the refinery and used to produce sulphuric acid. However, some SO 2
is also produced when crude oil products and natural gas are burnt.
Metal sulfides are found naturally and used to extract metals. The metal is
roasted in air. This produces SO2 and the metal or metal oxide.
2ZnS (s) + 3O2 (g) -> 2ZnO (s) + 2SO2 (g)
Bacterial decomposition also produces H2S (rotten egg gas). This oxidises to SO 2.
2H2S (g) + 3O2 (g) -> 2SO2 (g) + 2H2O(g)

The Acidic Environment

Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) nitric oxide (NO) a colourless gas, a neutral oxide
- nitrogen dioxide (NO2) a brown gas, an acidic oxide
Lightning at very high temperature generated by lightning, atmospheric
oxygen and nitrogen react to produce nitric oxide which then reacts slowly with
more atmospheric oxygen to produce nitrogen dioxide.
N2 (g) + O2 (g) heat lightning-> 2NO(g)
2NO(g) + O2 (g) -> 2NO2 (g)
Also in industries where high temperatures are generated. About 86% of total
NOx come from vehicle exhausts. NO is formed when nitrogen and oxygen react
at high temperatures. NO2 is produced by the oxidation of NO. The rate of NO 2
formation depends on the concentration of NO in the air. Up to 10% of total NO x
is NO2.
NOx is also derived from other sources, including industries, electrical power
production and oil refining. Nitrous oxide is produced by certain bacteria. The
amount of nitrous oxide produced in this way has increased as nitrogenous
fertilizers provide more nitrogen.

assess the evidence which indicates increases in atmospheric concentration

of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen
Note that in Australia NOx and SOx have remained fairly constant over the past
decade. It has also stabilised in Europe but is increasing in Asia particularly China
due to rapid industrialisation.
The effects of acid rain, erosion of
marble and limestone buildings, forests
and aquatic organisms. This has
increased in recent times.
Increase of acidity in lakes

This is indirect and qualitative
evidence. It is a good indicator of levels
of NOx and SOx in the air.
Not good evidence. Indirect but
quantitative. Might be from other
sources like soil, surface runoff or
organisms in the lake, not necessary
NOx and SOx.
Solid, direct, quantitative. Only started
measuring in 1970s, nothing else to
compare this evidence to. Not good
indicator of increased levels.
Direct and quantitative. But
comparison not good for increased
levels over time. Difference between
industrialised areas and other areas not
difference between time frames.
Visual pollution, able to be seen. Good

Higher atmospheric concentrations of

SO2 and NOx measured

Now find higher atmospheric

concentrations of SO2 and NOx in
industrial areas.

Heavy acidic smogs London 1952, Los


The Acidic Environment

Angeles and Tokyo in 1960s

evidence, direct and quantitative.

Smog wasnt there before, good
comparison to times past.

Overall assess:
Up until the 1970s, the evidence are all indirect and mostly qualitative. After the
1970s, we start directly measuring the concentration of SO x and NOx, this is
quantitative. However, these new quantitative measurements cannot be
compared to the qualitative evidence, so the levels of NO x and SOx in the air
cannot be certain.

calculate volumes of gases given masses of some substances in reactions,

and calculate masses of substances given gaseous volumes, in reactions
involving gases at 0C and 100kPa or 25C and 100kPa
explain the formation and effects of acid rain
Rain or precipitation that is more acidic than normal rain is referred to as acid
rain. Normal rain is slightly acidic because of carbonic acid in the rain, formed
with the CO2 in the air.
Primarily, moisture in the air react with SO2 and NOx to form H2SO4 and HNO3
acids. The presence of SO2 and NOx in the air can be caused by natural events
such as volcanic eruptions, forest fires, lightning bolts and bacterial
decomposition. Industries also contribute to this, including power-generating
plants, ore smelting, motor vehicles and industrial furnaces.
Acid rain can dissolve valuables minerals in the soil. Severe acid rain can
damage the protective layer on leaves. Aquatic organisms are affected by the
increased acidity in their habitats. Acid rain can also damage man-made
buildings and monuments. The food chain can also be affected by
bioaccumulation of heavy metals washed into the river by acid rain. Acidic water
can dissolve metal piping.
identify data, plan and perform a first-hand investigation to decarbonate soft
drink and gather data to measure the mass changes involved and calculate
the volume of gas released at 25C and 100kPa
analyse information from secondary sources to summarise the industrial
origins of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen and evaluate reasons for
concern about their release into the environment
Some industrial sources of SO2 include the burning of coal and natural gas, the
refining of crude oil and smelting. NO 2 is generated in power stations and car
engines, where high temperature and combustion occurs.
SO2 contribute greatly to the quality of air. Excessive SO 2 in the air can cause
respiratory problems. People with asthma can experience symptoms after
exposed to SO2 after 10 minutes. In others, SO2 can cause the inflammation of the
respiratory tract, induce coughing and muscus. Cardiac problems can also be
related to increased levels of SO2. These problems are evident in that on days

The Acidic Environment

where the concentration of SO2 in the air is high, more people are admitted to
hospitals for cardiac and respiratory problems than days with low concentrations.
At a concentration of 200 g/m3, NO2 is a toxic gas. In asthmatic children, high
and constant exposure to NO2 is believed to lead directly to increased chances of
asthma attacks and bronchitis. Also in children, excessive exposure to NO 2 can
contribute to reduced lung function or the lung not developing fully.
SO2 and NO2 in the air can also react with the water particles in the air to form
sulfuric acid, which can precipitate in the form of acid rain. Acid rain can cause
damage to buildings, water bodies with changed pH and increase corrosion in
places. It is damaging to the environment as the wax protective layers on leaves
of plants can be corroded away by acid rain, and also causes deforestation.
Changed pH in water bodies can pollute our water sources and affect aquatic life.
Small pH changes can cause organism migration and large changes can cause
death and abnormalities in some organisms. Acid rain can also change soil
acidity, which affects plant growth. Important human monuments can be
corroded, especially sandstone structures.
The release of SO2 and NO2 into our environment is a large problem and raises
concern. Its effects range from affecting the human health, destroying natural
habitats, cause organism death and corrode important structures in the world.

The Acidic Environment

3. Acids occur in many foods, drinks and even within our stomachs
Students learn to:
define acids as proton donors and describe the ionisation of acids in water
H atom contains 1 proton and 1 electron. H+ is just a proton. A proton and a
hydrogen ion are the same and can be represented by H +. An acid is then a
proton donor. When acid molecule contacts water, it can ionise and donate a
proton to the water molecule.
HCl(g) + H2O(l) -> H3O3(aq) +Cl-(aq)
Free H+ does not exist in aqueous solution, it forms hydronium ion H 3O+.
When an acid molecule is placed in water, it can ionise, releasing a proton and
forming a negative ion. The proton, H +, can attach to a water molecule, H2O,
forming what is called a hydrated hydrogen ion or hydronium ion, H 3O+.
Note base is a proton acceptor.

identify acids including acetic (ethanoic), citric (2- hydroxypropane-1,2,3tricarboxylic), hydrochloric and sulfuric acid
Acetic (ethanoic)

Citric (2- hydroxypropane-1,2,3- tricarboxylic)

describe the use of the pH scale in comparing acids and bases

The pH scale is used to compare the concentration is H + ions in solutions of acids
and bases. The pH scale normally extends from 0-14, where 0 is acidic, 7 is
neutral and 14 is basic.


The Acidic Environment

If a strong acid has a concentration greater than 1 mol/L, the pH is less than
zero. Similarly, a strong base solution with a concentration greater than 1 mol/L
has a pH greater than 14. Most solutions lie between pH 0 to 14.
There are several methods to estimate pH including litmus paper, universal
indicator (combination of indicators) which is observed through colour-change.
More precisely, a pH metre is used or a data logger with a pH probe.

describe acids and their solutions with the appropriate use of the terms
strong, weak, concentrated and dilute
Concentrated and dilute acids
These terms describe the amount of acid dissolved in the solution.
Concentrated acid an acid solution that has a high concentration of solute and
low solvent.
Dilute acid an acid solution that has a low concentration of solute and high
Strong and Weak Acids
These terms describe the degree of ionisation of the acid molecules.
Strong acid an acid that is completely ionised.
Weak acid an acid that is not completely ionised.

identify pH as -log10 [H+] and explain that a change in pH of 1 means a tenfold change in [H+]
pH = -log [H+]


























A change in pH of 1 means a change in H by a factor of 10.

compare the relative strengths of equal concentrations of citric, acetic and

hydrochloric acids and explain in terms of the degree of ionisation of their
By comparing the hydrogen ion concentration or the pH of acidic solutions of the
same concentration of the degree of ionisation can be calculated.
Eg. Acids of equal concentration (0.01molL-1)
Ethanoic Acid CH3COOH
4.1710- 3.3
Citric Acid
HCl has the greatest ion concentration and the greatest degree of ionisation. It is
the strongest acid. HCl and CH3COOH are monoprotic while citric acid is triprotic.


The Acidic Environment

describe the difference between a strong and a weak acid in terms of an

equilibrium between the intact molecule and its ions
A strong acid is one that ionises completely. That is, the equilibrium lies to the
right. The ions are present in a much higher concentration than the intact
molecule. Eg. HCl, HBr, HNO3.
A weak acid does not ionise completely. Equilibrium lies to the left. Ions at a
lower concentration than the intact molecule. Eg. CH 3COOH, citric acid, H2CO3,
H 2S

solve problems and perform a firsthand investigation to use pH meters/probes
and indicators to distinguish between acidic, basic and neutral chemicals
plan and perform a first-hand investigation to measure the pH of identical
concentrations of strong and weak acids
gather and process information from secondary sources to write ionic
equations to represent the ionisation of acids
HBr(l) + H2O(l) -> H3O+(aq) + Br (aq)
HNO3(l) + H2O(l) -> H3O+(aq) + NO3 (aq)
H2SO4(aq) + H2O(l) -> H3O+(aq) + H+(aq) + SO42(aq)
H3O+ + HSO4 + H2O -> 2H3O+ + SO42
Sulfuric acid is a diprotic acid because each molecule can release up to two
CH3COOH(l) + H2O(l) -> H3O+(aq) + CH3COO(aq)
Phosphoric acid is called a triprotic acid because each molecule can release up to
three protons.
H3PO4 + 3H2O -> 3H3O+ + PO43

use available evidence to model the molecular nature of acids and simulate
the ionisation of strong and weak acids
Model kits and pen caps.

gather and process information from secondary sources to explain the use of
acids as food additives
Acids used to improve taste, make the food sour, drinks and sweets
Preserve food bacteria cant survive in acidic environment eg. Canned fruits
and vegetables, pickles
Prevents spoilage by oxidation, antioxidant
Dietary reasons-Vitamin C

The Acidic Environment

Food additives
Acetic Acid
Citric Acid
Malic Acid
Tataric Acid
Lactic acid
(vitamin C)


Preserve food (pickling), flavouring
Flavouring and preservative (antioxidant)
Flavouring, preservative, antioxidant,
rising agent
Production of dairy products
Acidulation of soft drink, manufacture
of cheese
Controls bacteria and mould growth
Antioxidant to prevent spoilage, added
to increase vitamin C in many foods

identify data, gather and process information from secondary sources to

identify examples of naturally occurring acids and bases and their chemical
Where occur
Citric acid
Citrus fruits, vegetables
Malic Acid
Apples, cherries
Grapes and pineapples
Benzene COOH
Prunes, plums cranberries
Where occur
Calcium Carbonate
Limestone and marble
Calcium magnesium

process information from secondary sources to calculate pH of strong acids

given appropriate hydrogen ion concentrations


The Acidic Environment

4. Because of the prevalence and importance of acids, they have been
used and studied for hundreds of years. Over time, the definitions of
acid and base have been refined
outline the historical development of ideas about acids including those of:
- Lavoisier
- Davy
- Arrhenius
Scientis Acid definition
Why the theory

Base definition
was modified
Acids contained
It was observed that nonMetal oxides are
oxygen, which
metal oxides reacted with not acidic and HCl
(1780s made them
water to form acidic
did not have
Acids all
Observed known acids
Doesnt explain
contain H that could be
why substances
replaced by metal. 1830,
without H are
Bases react with
10 more acids with no H
metals to form
Arrheni An acid produces Observed in electrolysis
The theory is too
H+ ions when
on acids that H2 produced restrictive and
dissolved in
at cathode, therefore
doesnt allow for
must contain ions.
other solvent.
A base produced
Thought stronger acids
Narrow definition
OH when
ionised more than weak
of bases doesnt
dissolved in
allow for basic
This theory explains
metal salts and
neutralisation, the OH
acidic non-metal
and H forms water.
Interpreted property of
Doesnt explain
utline the Brnsted-Lowry theory of acids and bases
Independently but simultaneously proposed that acids are proton donors and
bases are proton acceptors. Acid if it has greater tendency to give protons than
solvent. Base if has greater tendency to accept proton than solvent.
HA + H2O => H3O+ + AB + H2O => HB+ + OHHCl(g) + H2O(l) => H3O+(aq) + Cl-(aq)
NH3(g) + H2O(l) => NH4+(aq) + OH-


Includes effect of solvent, applies to non-aqueous solutions too. Explains why

some salts act as acids and others act as bases and how some substances are
amphoteric. In this theory, every acid has a conjugate base. An acid or a base
can be an ion. To be an acid, substance must contain H atom.
Eg. H2O(l) + H2O(l) => H3O+(aq + OH-(aq)
Acidity doesnt depend on the structure of the substance butt on its properties
relative to those of the solvent or other reactant in the solution. Hydrolysis of
salts that produce pHs different from 7 is acid/base reaction.
describe the relationship between an acid and its conjugate base and a base
and its conjugate acid
Conjugate means to be linked with something, so a conjugate base is the base
linked with the acid and vice versa. In the Bronsted-Lowry theory, every acid has
a conjugate base that has the same formula but one less proton and therefore
one less charge than the acid. Every base has a conjugate acid that has one
more proton and one more change than its base.
HCl + H2O => H3O+ + ClNH3 + H2O NH4+ + OH+
CO32- + H2O HCO3- + OH identify a range of salts which form acidic, basic or neutral solutions and
explain their acidic, neutral or basic nature
Salts are formed when acids react with bases. A salt is an ionic compound
formed from a cation other than H+ and an onion other than OH- or O2-.
The pH of aqueous salt solutions is not always 7. Some salts form basic solutions
and are called basic salts. Other form acidic solutions and are acidic salts and
those that are neutral form neutral solutions. The Bronsted-Lowry theory
provides the explanation for this. It is because many of the anions or cations can
act as acids or bases. Hydrolysis is a Bronsted-Lowry reaction of an ion with
water to give excess H+ or OH-.
Basic Anions:
Hydrolysis of basic anions:
CH3COO-(aq) + H2O CH3COOH + OHCN- + H2O HCN + OHHCO3 + H2O H2CO3 + OH
CO32- + H2O HCO3- + OHBasic anions are those that react with water to form OH-. The presence of OHresults in basic solution. Basic anions are from weak acids. Only small amount of
basic anion reacts with water because acid formed is stronger than water.
Acidic Anions: (typically contain H+ and are conjugate bases of strong acids)
HSO4- + H2O SO42- + H3O+
HCO3- is basic as it more readily accepts protons than donates them. It comes
from a weak acid.
No Basic Cations
Acidic Cations
NH4+ + H2O NH3 + H3O+

Equilibrium lies to the left because H3O+ stronger acid than NH4+ and NH3 is
stronger base than H2O. Final solution is mildly acidic.

Strong acid + Strong base => Neutral Salt + water
Weak acid + Strong base => Basic Salt + water
Strong acid + Weak base => Acidic Salt + water
Weak acid + Weak base => Neutral salt + water
identify conjugate acid/base pairs

- CN

conjugate bases.

e Acid
H 2O

acids have weak conjugate bases.

Moderately weak acids have moderately
conjugate bases. Weak acids have strong

Strong Acids: HCl, H2SO4, HNO3

Weak Acids: CH3COOH, HNO2, H2CO3, HF
Strong Bases: NaOH, KOH
Weak Bases: NH3, NH4OH
identify amphiprotic substances and construct equations to describe their
behaviour in acidic and basic solutions
identify neutralisation as a proton transfer reaction which is exothermic
describe the correct technique for conducting titrations and preparation of
standard solutions
A titration is an experimental procedure that mixes a solution of known
concentration and a solution of unknown concentration until they neutralise. The
concentration of the second solution can then be calculated. It is a quantitative
volumetric analysis.
Primary Standard Solution


Have a known formula and be very pure

Should not absorb or lose moisture from or to the air
Relatively high formula mass to minimise weighing errors
HCl and H2SO4 unsuitable as conc. Varies from batch to batch. NaOH
unsuitable as absorbs water
- Na2CO3 used for basic and Oxalic acid used for acidic
Weigh out exact amount of solid using electronic balance (heat to remove
Place solid in a beaker and mix with distilled water
Pour solution into a volumetric flask with a funnel
Rinse beaker and funnel with distilled water in a wash bottle so all solution
goes into the flask
Fill the flask up to exactly 250ml
Shake/invert the volumetric flash so the mixture is well mixed
Place the stopper on the flask when storing to prevent evaporation

1. Rinse a conical flask with distilled water, a bulb pipette with primary standard
and the burette with secondary standard
2. Draw out exactly 25ml of primary standard with pipette and place in conical
3. Add 3 drops of suitable indicator and swirl
4. Fill the burette with secondary standard and record initial reading
5. Drip secondary standard into the conical flask whilst swirling the flask to mix
6. Once the indicator changes colour, stop the burette immediately
7. Read and record the final burette reading
8. Calculate
Strong Acid + Strong Base use Bromothymol Blue (6.2 7.6)
Strong Acid and Weak Base use Methyl Orange (3.1 4.4)
Weak Acid and Strong Base use Phenophthaline (8.3 10.0)
Weak Acid and Weak Base use Data Logger and change is too gradual to be seen
qualitatively describe the effect of buffers with reference to a specific
example in a natural system
A buffer is an aqueous solution that resists a change in pH when a small amount
of a strong acid or strong base is added to it. It contains equal amounts of a
weak acid and its conjugate base and is made by mixing equal parts of a weak
acid and a salt of that acid or a weak base and a slat of that base.
Note Just a weak acid on its own does not make a buffer because it will not
dissociate enough to provide enough to provide enough basic ion so it is a
mixture of a weak acid and a salt of that weak acid or a weak base and the salt
of that weak.
Eg. Acetic acid and sodium acetate. pH around 4.6
CH3COOH(aq) + H2O(l) CH2COO- + H3O+ [eq1]

This is possible because the weak acid and base are at equilibrium. When acid or
H+ (H3O+) are added they react with the weak base to form more of its conjugate
acid and the equilibrium shifts towards the weak acid right. Thus buffer resists
the change in pH by removing strong acid from the solution.
When more base or OH- are added then they react with the weak acid to form its
conjugate base and the equilibrium moves to the left. Thus buffer has resisted
the change in pH by removing strong base from the solution.
H3O+ + CH3COO- => CH3COOH(aq) + H2O(l) [eq2 acid added, reverse of eq1]
CH3COOH(aq) + OH- => CH3COO- + H2O(l) [eq3 base added, this is forward reaction
of eq1]
Because acetic acid is a weak acid, a change in the amount of acid present only
producs a very small change in the hydrogen ion concentration and therefore
there is only a small change in the pH.

Biological Systems
Living things contain enzymes that are used to control metabolic rates of
reaction. Enzymes are pH sensitive and so need to be at their optimum pH for
metabolism. The pH in the body is maintained by buffers.
Specific Example (learn equations)
Blood is a buffered solution with a pH of 7.4 that maintains the pH of the blood
between 7.35 and 7.45.
When CO2 dissolves in the blood it forms carbonic acid, which ionises to form
carbonate and H+. This happens as CO2 diffuses from the cells into the blood.
CO2 (g) + H2O(l) H2CO3 (aq)
H2CO2 (aq) H+(aq) + HCO-2 (aq)
If more CO2 is added then more H+ ions will form, lowering the pH, but the
equilibrium will move to the left to minimise the change.
When CO2 leave the blood at the surface of the lungs the pH become higher but
the equilibrium will move to the right to minimise the change.
gather and process information from secondary sources to trace
developments in understanding and describing acid/base reactions
choose equipment and perform a first-hand investigation to identify the pH of
a range of salt solutions
perform a first-hand investigation and solve problems using titrations and
including the preparation of standard solutions, and use available evidence to
quantitatively and qualitatively describe the reaction between selected acids
and bases

perform a first-hand investigation to determine the concentration of a

domestic acidic substance using computer-based technologies
Attached Sheet
analyse information from secondary sources to assess the use of
neutralisation reactions as a safety measure or to minimise damage in
accidents or chemical spills
Acids and bases are corrosive and if these chemicals are spilt, they must be
cleaned up quickly before damages are done to spilt surfaces. Neutralisation is
one way to minimise this damage. However, neutralisation is an exothermic
reaction that can generate a lot of heat if a strong acid and a strong base is
reacted together.
Firstly, the spill is contained and soaked up with sand or vermiculite, it is then
transported to a suitable location. For safety reasons, acids and bases should be
weak ones or diluted ones before they are reacted together and a large amount
of water needs to be present when reacting them together.
For acid spillages, excess bases are added such as sodium carbonate:
Na2CO3(s) + 2HCl(aq) => 2NaCl(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)
Sodium carbonate is a good base to use for acid spills as it is cheap, easy to
clean up afterwards and does not pose a danger if used in excess.
For spilt bases, weak acids are often used such as vinegar or benzoic acid and
sometimes very dilute HCl or H2SO4
NaHCO3(s) + NaOH(aq) => Na2CO3(aq) + H2O(l)
Sodium hydrocarbonate is a very good neutraliser for both acids and bases as it
is amphiprotic. Sodium hydrogen phosphate is also amphiprotic.
Neutralisation reactions are exothermic reactions that produce some amount of
heat, therefore, are not suitable to use for spillages onto the skin. If spilled onto
skin, flush with water.
Safety precautions that use neutralisation reactions include neutralising effluent
discharges by factories into sewers. The government has strict regulations on the
pH of effluents released into the sewer as a change of pH may affect the
bacterial breakdown in the sewers.

5. Esterification is a naturally occurring process which can be

performed in the laboratory
describe the differences between the alkanol and alkanoic acid functional
groups in carbon compounds
A functional group is an atom or group of atoms that reacts in a characteristic
way in different carbon compounds.
Alkanols (Alcohol)
Alkanoic Acids
Hydroxyl group
Carboxyl Group
ROH where the R is the alkyl
RCOOH where R is the alkyl
Not readily lose OH or H
It can donate a proton, weak
OH group is polar, soluble
COOH is polar, soluble, H-bond
Form hydrogen bonds in water
Polar due to OH group
More polar than alkanol
because of COOH
MP and BP
Higher MP or BP then similar
Higher MP and BP than similar
alkane or alkene due to Halkanol as it has more HBonding.
Note: Alkane, alkene have weak
dispersion force

identify the IUPAC nomenclature for describing the esters produced by

reactions of straight-chained alkanoic acids from C1 to C8 and straightchained primary alkanols from C1 to C8
To name an ester
- the alkanol name with the ending changed from anol to yl
- then the acid name with the oic changed to oate
explain the difference in melting point and boiling point caused by straightchained alkanoic acid and straight-chained primary alkanol structures
Straight-chained means no branches on the hydrocarbon chain
Primary alkanol means the OH group is at the end of the hydrocarbon chain
The high MP and BP in alkanols is due to H-boning between the O in one
molecule and the H of an OH in a nearby molecule.

The ability of the COOH group to be involved in two hydrogen bonds gives an
alkanoic acid an even higher boiling point than that of a similar sized alkanol.
Two h-bonds can occur between a pair of alkanoic acid molecules.

identify esterification as the reaction between an acid and an alkanol and

describe, using equations, examples of esterification
An acid, containing the COOH group can react with an alkanol, containing the OH
group, to produce ester and water.

Eg Ethanoic acid and ethanol

The O in the water comes from the acid

The reaction is reversible and comparable quantities of alkanol, acid, ester and
water are present at equilibrium.
describe the purpose of using acid in esterification for catalysis
explain the need for refluxing during esterification
Esterification is the reaction between an alkanol and an
alkanoic acid. (example of condensations reaction,
water condenses out) It is also an equilibrium reaction.
It is a moderately slow reaction at room temperature.
To speed up the reaction, a catalyst (concentrated
H2SO4) is used and the reaction is heated. The H2SO4
also acts as a dehydrating agent, absorbing the water
and forcing the equilibrium to the right, resulting in a
higher yield.
Heating the reaction speeds up the reaction but the
volatile alcohol could escape. To prevent this, a
condenser is placed on top of the flask so that any
volatile components are cooled by the water in the
condenser and runs back into the reaction. This is
refluxing. Refluxing also improves the safety of the
operation as the vapours are flammable.
Because of the volatility, the reaction is carried out in a
water bath and often on an electric hot plate. (if reflux
is done correctly, there should be no vapour escaping, dont put as answer)

Boiling chips are added for a greater surface area for the reason to boil,
preventing bumping.
The flask is not stoppered to prevent a build-up of pressure due to vapourisation.
The reaction can be carried out in a fume cupboard to prevent inhalation and
safety glasses are worn. The reaction can still take several hours to reach

outline some examples of the occurrence, production and uses of esters



3-methylbutyl ethanoate
(or pentyl ethanoate)
Also known as Banana oil
Naturally in the banana plant

Benzyl ethanoate

Can be produced synthetically

Sweet aroma used in perfume,

Solvent in plastics, resin, oils,

3-methyl butan-1-ol + Ethanoic
Acid => 3methylbutyl

Found naturally in flowers

(jasmine, ylang-ylang)

Benzyl Alcohol + Ethanoic Acid

=> Benzyl Acetate
[sulphuric acid catalyst]


[sulphuric acid is catalyst]

Banana food flavouring

Jasmine/peach scented
deodorants and perfumes

identify data, plan, select equipment and perform a first-hand investigation to
prepare an ester using reflux
process information from secondary sources to identify and describe the uses
of esters as flavours and perfumes in processed foods and cosmetics
See above